Former two-time national player of the year Jay Williams received a voice mail from Duke athletic director Kevin White a few days ago. Williams thought White sounded fairly excited.
“I talk to Kevin every once in a while, and I was like ‘Why is Kevin excited?’ ” Williams said. “So, of course, it’s like when a teacher calls you and you’re like, ‘What did I do?’ Or Coach K calls and I’m like, ‘What did I do?’ He called me back, and he was absolutely ecstatic. I almost started to tear up.”
White told Williams that he is one of seven Blue Devils selected for induction into Duke’s athletics Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be in October.
Williams, known as Jason while in school, spent three years in Durham, helping Duke to a 95-13 overall record and the 2001 national championship. The Sporting News named him National Freshman of the Year, and he earned the ACC Tournament MVP in 2000. As a sophomore in 2001, Williams was named the national player of the year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. And in 2002, he won the Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award as the nation’s top player and earned his second straight first-team All-ACC recognition.
Williams scored 2,079 points in his career – tied for eighth-highest in school history – for a scoring average of 19.3 points per game. He was drafted second overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2002, but a motorcycle accident after his first season effectively ended his professional career. Currently, he is a college basketball analyst for ESPN.
“Unfortunately, for my job, I have to be somewhat neutral and unbiased, but I will always have the most love and respect for my school and for my coach,” Williams said. “That’s my family.”
Williams and the other six Blue Devils will be inducted Oct. 11 in Cameron Indoor Stadium and, the next day, they will be honored at halftime of Duke’s football game against Navy. There are currently 124 members in the Hall of Fame, dating back to its founding in 1975.
Here’s more on the other six enrollees, according to Duke athletics:
Dr. Georgia Schweitzer Beasley (basketball): Two-time ACC Player of the Year (2000, 2001) who helped the Blue Devils earn three regular season conference championships, two league tournament titles and an appearance in the 1999 national championship game. She finished her career with 1,620 points, 533 rebounds, 428 assists and 171 steals.
John Rennie (men’s soccer coach): Guided the Duke men’s soccer team to the school’s first NCAA championship in 1986 and had a 29-year coaching tenure at Duke that featured 410 wins, 27 winning seasons, 20 NCAA tournament berths, five College Cup appearances and five ACC championships. He retired after the 2007 season.
Jay Heaps (soccer): A two-time All-America, four-time All-ACC and four-time All-ACC tournament selection. Heaps was also a four-year member of Duke’s basketball team and was named second team Academic All-American in 1998. He went on to an 11-year playing career in Major League Soccer. He currently coaches the New England Revolution.
Julie Exum Breuer (tennis): A two-time All-American and two-time National Collegiate Clay Court singles champion in 1990 and 1992. She established the school’s single-season record for victories (52 in 1991) and later graduated as the program’s all-time leader in wins.
Wes Chesson (football): As a senior in 1970, Chesson established ACC single-season records for both pass receptions (74) and receiving yardage (1,080) en route to earning first team All-ACC and honorable mention All-American honors from the Associated Press. The 74 catches stood as a school single-season record for 42 years until both Conner Vernon (85) and Jamison Crowder (76) eclipsed the mark during the 2012 campaign. He was a seventh round choice of the Atlanta Falcons in the 1971 NFL Draft and played four seasons of professional football.
Matt Andresen (fencing): A four-time All-American pick from 1989-93. Andresen posted a career record of 122-25 and carded four top-10 finishes in NCAA championship competition including a career-best fourth-place showing in men’s epee in 1989. He was the program’s initial competitor to appear in the NCAA championships and Duke’s first All-American fencer.
Keeley 919-829-4556; Twitter @laurakeeley